According to the American Art Therapy Association
Art therapy promotes wellbeing at every age. Active older adults relax, explore, share, and enjoy art therapy’s creative and social aspects . . . it is rewarding, appealing, and fun! For older adults, art therapy helps individuals cope with complex age related issues including mental and physical illness or limitation, lifestyle transition, end-of-life decisions, grief, expression and communication.
According to my visits in senior living communities, art brings a sense of community. In one place I visited, a resident was complaining the art on the wall was not to her liking. This is okay, opinions and conversation sparked by art is good.
At another community, after being open for three years they were just adding lighting and ways to hang art in various locations to a) showcase art residents owned b) to highlight art from young students who went to school in the local area.
When art is used well, it also brings pride. Pride if residents themselves are able to showcase their work. Or, art may create pride of a local artist whom might share their work with a group of residents.
For those with dementia, art is a real connector. Even though short term memory may be depleting for many with dementia, rudimentary art skills seem to last. Given the chance, many residents with dementia can still very much express themselves in paint and color.
So, the challenge is if you are a community who serves seniors, what step will you take tomorrow to make yourself an art-friendly community who serves seniors and embraces their hidden or not so hidden talent?